Quick fix from a weather junkie
Any good pilot knows considerably more about the weather than the non-flying public. I am no different, with WX bookmarks making up well over 50% of my Firefox bookmarks.
There are many lesser-known weather "products" out there that can help a pilot put the big picture together in their mind before they call FAA for their standard briefing. One of these secrets has always been the NWS "Forecast Discussions" – which are official communications between weather stations where each forecaster gives his or her official best guess of what's happening in their neck o' the woods. These reports help each station compare notes as they put together the media reports that we hear on the six o'clock news.
FDs are not worded for public consumption, in fact there is enough weather-ese to make this often resemble Chin-ese. But with a little practice, any licensed or student pilot will pick up a considerable amount of very VERY useful 411.
I use these FDs as my secret weapon, and they are ALWAYS spot on accurate. Up until now, FDs gave the reader a look at everything BUT aviation weather, and the studious pilot had to read between the lines to see how what the NWS guys were saying would effect their route of flight. But that has thankfully changed. Now, each FD features a block of "aviation" copy phrased strictly for pilots.
Her is a sample from today's Medford, OR forecast discussion:
AVIATION..FREEZING RAIN WILL MAKE CONDITIONS AT KRBG HAZARDOUS THROUGH ABOUT 18Z. MVFR CONDITIONS AT THE COAST THIS MORNING. CONDITIONS WORSENING ACROSS THE FORECAST AREA AS A STRONG STORM MOVES THROUGH THE REGION. STRONG AND GUSTY LOW LEVEL WINDS MOST AERODROMES. HIGHER TERRAIN WILL BE OBSCURED BY LOW CLOUDS AND A MIX OF RAIN AND SNOW.Here are links to a few state FDs from today, based on the location of traffic this blog has been receiving (bookmark these as they change frequently throughout the day):
OR | CA | WA | FL | TX | AZ